Family of Buck Garner to hold holiday toy drive in murder victim's memory

POSTED: 08:18 PM MST Nov 29, 2012    UPDATED: 11:08 PM MST Nov 29, 2012 
Lisa Garner
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

On Christmas Day, 2011, 20-year-old Buck Garner was killed in an Ammon home. 

As another holiday season begins, the Garner family's raw feelings about that awful day have turned into a drive to make this Christmas about giving.

"I wonder if he like, if his spirit ever came back here," said Lisa Garner, outside the Ammon Road home where her son, Buck, was murdered last year. 

Sometimes healing comes unexpectedly. 

Nearly a year after Buck was killed, Garner decided to go to the house where it happened.  

You wouldn't know what happened at the house by simply looking at it. There are new tenants now, and Christmas decorations outside. For Garner, that's a reminder.

"I wasn't going to put up a tree, or decorate," said Garner. "I just got this feeling, that Buck would want me to go all out and make Christmas big, and fun, and happy."

So this year, that's what Garner has decided to do. Her friend Brenda Hall's son Andrew lived in the Ammon house when Buck was killed. Hall said her daughter gave her an idea. 

"We came up with the Buck Garner Christmas Challenge," she said. "We want everyone to do something in Buck's memory."

Hall and Garner are hosting a charity dinner and Toys for Tots drive this Saturday at the Junkyard Bar in Idaho Falls.

"All the money we raise will go to help local families," said Hall. 

An Angel Tree will be covered with names of families in need.

"We have to change Christmas from now on," said Hall. 

She said the goal is to make this Christmas much less about what happened last Christmas.

"It keeps the families who will have a hard time at Christmas busy, and helping others," she said.  

The Buck Garner Challenge Charity Event is this Saturday, Dec. 1. 

The Toys for Tots drive is open all day for folks to drop off toys at the Junkyard Bar in Idaho Falls at 2265 N. Yellowstone Highway. 

A dinner and silent charity auction begin at 6 p.m., with live music all night. Younger friends of Buck Garner who can't come to the bar on Saturday put together a food drive for local families. 

They will be collecting donations at the Idaho Falls and Ammon Wal-mart stores from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8.